Somaliland to position itself strategically and make informed decisions that will benefit the country in the long run. It is crucial for Somaliland to stay up–to–date with global geopolitics and adapt accordingly.
By A. Artan, Independent Author
The government and politicians in Somaliland must understand why the direction of geopolitics is about to change in the world, and we need to keep track of how alliances and friendships are being formed. This understanding will help Somaliland to position itself strategically and make informed decisions that will benefit the country in the long run. It is crucial for Somaliland to stay up-to-date with global developments and adapt accordingly.
The biggest threat to world security is the risk of a conflict in the Middle East, North Africa, and East Africa. Almost 60% of proven oil reserves and 50% of proven natural gas resources are found in these regions. A conflict in these regions could significantly disrupt global energy supplies, leading to economic instability and political unrest worldwide.
More than 10 to 15 percent of global trade passes through the Red Sea each year, crossing two of the 10 most strategic waterways in the world: the Bab al-Mandab at the sea’s southern entrance and Egypt’s Suez Canal. This gives Somaliland’s Berbera port an important strategic location, and the world must protect it.
Any foreign or local entities that are trying to destabilize Somaliland pose a threat to Berbera Port and the economic development of the region, as well as its stability. Therefore, it is important for the international community to support Somaliland’s efforts to maintain security and protect its sovereignty.
The US government was the security guarantor for the GCC countries, with a security pact designed to protect them from attacks by Iran or other countries.
The dispute between Qatar and other GCC countries has had far-reaching consequences for the security pact and the six decades of US-GCC relations. The once-unbreakable bond between these nations has been shaken to the core, with implications for regional stability and security.
The impact of this dispute has led to a shift in US and GCC foreign policy. GCC countries have come to the realization that they cannot solely rely on the US anymore, with some questioning the effectiveness of the security pact and the US commitment to the region.
The US has been a longstanding ally of the GCC countries, providing them with military support and security guarantees. However, Qatar and GCC dispute has caused many countries to reassess their relationship with the US and look for alternative allies.
Qatar, in particular, felt that the US government had abandoned them during the dispute and sought help from Turkey, a NATO country, to provide the protection it required. Other GCC countries also felt that the US government could abandon them at any time, causing them to question their reliance on the US. This shift in alliances highlights the growing influence of regional powers in the Middle East and the declining influence of the US. It also underscores the need for a new approach to diplomacy in the region that takes into account these changing dynamics.
As a result, countries have started to focus on strengthening their military power or finding new patrons. China and Russia could possibly be new allies for some GCC countries, who are looking to expand their relationships beyond the US. This shift in foreign policy could have significant implications for regional politics and power dynamics.
Saudi Arabia and Iran
According to Saudi Arabia’s think tank, if the US couldn’t ensure Qatar’s security or persuade the GCC to lift the embargo, a similar situation could arise in Saudi Arabia if Iran were to launch an attack. To prevent this, Saudi Arabia has partnered with China, which has encouraged Iran to negotiate a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia. As a result, Iran has influenced the Houthis to halt their attacks on Saudi Arabia. This has resulted in decreased tensions in the area and a more promising outlook for stability.
UAE and Israel
The UAE has played a leading role in facilitating a historic peace agreement between Israel and several Arab nations. This landmark achievement has significantly reduced tensions between Israel and the rest of the Arab world. The Abraham Accords, signed in Abu Dhabi, mark a turning point in Middle Eastern diplomacy as they signify the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, and Bahrain. The agreements also open up opportunities for economic cooperation and could potentially lead to more countries in the region following suit.
Somaliland and Taiwan
While geopolitics is changing around the world, Somaliland’s deals with Taiwan were a good start. However, the Somaliland government did not make use of the new relationship with Taiwan, and Somaliland’s institutions were not prepared to benefit from Taiwan’s experience in building a strong economy. Somaliland failed to request Taiwan to advocate for them in the USA and Europe as they were preoccupied with elections and internal political conflicts.
Although Taiwan had extensive experience in succeeding as a nation without formal recognition, they did not put this into practice in Somaliland, and they did not act as a big brother to Somaliland to showcase how Taiwan was adding value to Somaliland.
The leadership of Taiwan missed an opportunity to mentor Somaliland as a new ally and friend, which was a mistake. Somaliland’s strategic location in East Africa could serve as a gateway for Taiwanese companies to enter Africa, providing Taiwan with an economic advantage, particularly through the use of the Berbera port. It is crucial for Taiwan to assist Somaliland in building strong institutions in both military and technology, which could be beneficial to both countries. The minerals and oil reserves in Somaliland’s strategic location could also benefit Taiwanese companies. By doing so, Taiwan can expand its influence in Africa and strengthen its global presence.
Although Taiwan has already provided assistance to Somaliland’s Ministry of Health, Education, and Agriculture, Somaliland intellectuals and scholars were hoping for a more significant engagement from Taiwan, including political support within the US and EU, training for Somaliland diplomats, and introductions to Taiwanese friends.
Somaliland intellectuals were also seeking Taiwan’s help in training Somaliland forces to defend itself against external threats. This indicates that Somaliland is looking for a long-term partnership with Taiwan that extends beyond just providing aid. By providing political support and training, Taiwan can assist Somaliland in strengthening its diplomatic and military capabilities, benefiting both countries in the future.
Somaliland’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan has created a difficult situation for them with China, which has a military base in the region. Unfortunately, the US government has failed to acknowledge the potential for China to cause instability in Somaliland, which is a significant error.
Although the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) calls for security cooperation between the US and Somaliland, the US embassy in Mogadishu has not actively engaged with Somaliland. The State Department’s lack of action, including the failure to open an office in Somaliland and has made Somaliland vulnerable to destabilization.
Consequently, foreign powers have launched the Las Anod uprising and used militias to attack Somaliland, with the objective of disrupting a planned US military exercise in Berbera and influencing the US to cease its military cooperation with Somaliland.
A war between Sudan’s military leaders has erupted, which could eventually disrupt the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia, which has resolved its issues with the Houthis, is now concerned about the new war in Sudan. The Red Sea is vulnerable again, and global shipments could be disturbed.
The Berbera port, which is situated in Somaliland, has the potential to serve as a gateway for a coalition of countries including the US, the EU, the UK, and the GCC. However, the current situation in Somaliland is unstable due to disturbances in Las Anod caused by those who oppose the establishment of a US military base in the country.
The Somaliland government feels that Western countries and their allies have neglected them, and the Somaliland opposition political parties are urging the government to seek new allies who can help resolve the situation in Las Anod and save Somaliland. This sentiment is echoed by the people on the streets of Somaliland as well as intellectuals who are calling on the government to seek new friends and allies.
In conclusion, Somaliland’s strategic location on the Red Sea and its Berbera port give it an essential position in global trade, and any attempts to destabilize Somaliland pose a threat to the region’s economic development and stability.
Taiwan should take advantage of the opportunity to expand its influence in Africa by assisting Somaliland in building strong institutions, training diplomats and forces, and providing political support within the US, UK, and EU.
Somaliland’s government and politicians should pay attention to the changing geopolitical landscape and alliances being formed worldwide to position the country strategically and make informed decisions that benefit the country in the long run. The international community should support Somaliland’s efforts to maintain security and protect its sovereignty.
The GCC countries should support Somaliland, maintain its peace, and play an active role in influencing both the Somalia government and the regional Somalia state of Puntland to stop sending militias to the Somaliland city of Las Anod. They should also play an active role in mediating between Somaliland and Somalia.
The UAE has made a lot of investments in Somaliland, and this investment should be protected. The Saudi Arabian government should be worried about the influx of Ethiopian refugees seeking to reach Saudi Arabia for a better life if Somaliland is destabilized.
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